Scottsdale, AZ – Tired of being the one under a microscope, a local Scottsdale Real Estate agent has turned the tables on the service review paradigm.
Barry Wong, a residential Realtor with Prickly Pear Properties, says the time has come for consumers to enjoy the same level of scrutiny to which service providers are subjected.
“I’m not a toaster,” Wong stressed when reached for comment at his ‘mobile office’ in the parking lot of the Goodwill on Scottsdale Rd between Thomas and McDowell.
“Nor am I a used Pontiac or a sandwich shop,” Wong continued. “Yet everyone feels the need to put a numerical value on the ongoing, long-term service I provide nowadays.”
Asked to quantify the difficulty of ranking the unique, involved relationships that agents share with their clients on a scale of 1-10, Wong rated it an ‘8’.
“There are far too many variables from transaction to transaction, and relationship to relationship for clients to rate me effectively on a simple, translatable scale,” Wong argued. “Especially when much of the job takes place behind the scenes, the customer never realizes the true value of what has been provided.”
Wong was less conflicted by the ability to rank consumer behavior, however.
“It’s simple,” Wong noted. “They either screw you over or they don’t.”
Adopting a four star rating system for the online repository that he hopes will help his fellow professionals avoid the all too common, non-profitable encounters with shiftless time-wasters, Wong envisions a national platform that will fully illuminate this dark side of the sales equation.
“Four stars are for successful closings within six months of initial contact,” he explained. “Three stars will reflect clients who purchased or sold a home beyond the six month threshold.”
Not everyone is convinced that the attempt to level the playing field is a prudent course of action in an era of consumer empowerment.
“The online evaluation of those who would bring you business has never been attempted,” Gustav Merkins of the consumer advocacy group Are You High? claimed when reached for comment. “That’s because it is patently idiotic.”
“If I can save just one agent from driving all over town with some grifter with a history of shining salespeople on, it will all be worth it,” Wong asserted in the face of such naysaying.
Asked to clarify the significance of the final two points in the rating scale he created during a night of binge drinking on the heels of a lost listing, Wong obliged.
“Two stars are for customers who never buy or sell anything,” he confirmed. “One star is reserved for customers who grade agents poorly on online rating sites.”
“Look,” Wong concluded. “I am a firm believer that the customer is always right, except when he’s not. That’s where shame and public humiliation comes into play.”
— Paul Slaybaugh, BSRE News ©2011
On this day in Arizona Real Estate:
11/23/1881 – The first Real Estate disclosure laws go into effect for the young territory on the heels of the sale of a corral in Tombstone with a non-disclosed stigma. Claiming he would have paid considerably less for the property had he been aware of its recent history of people getting shot in the face, Jebediah Tippins also holds the distinction for the first ‘For Sale By Owner’ purchase in the Southwest.
11/23/1912 – Edward Reems of Copper Crest Realty & Insurance double-ends the first sale of a covered wagon park in state history. He is later found hanged by a fellow agent for alleged ‘buyer rustling’.
11/23/1937 – Eli Smokes invents the lockbox in Prescott, AZ and immediately gives out the combination to the town drunk.
11/23/1974 – The Arizona Association of Realtors introduces the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, responds to immediate consumer demands for full online access to the raw listing feed by noting that the internet has not been invented yet.
11/23/1987 – Timothy Barnaby of Tucson is the first to cross out ‘7%’ in the boilerplate of a listing agreement, sparking a revolution against Real Estate fees that would be a boon for consumers in their pursuit of affordable, crappy service.
11/23/2004 – Arizona Real Estate buyers lose their collective minds.
11/23/2007 – The party’s over as lending institutions turn out the lights on all programs geared towards borrowers with sub-eight hundred FICO scores who earn less than seventeen million dollars a month.
11/23/2011 – Paul Slaybaugh with Realty Executives prepares to give thanks to his faithful clients for helping him successfully navigate another crazy year in the ever-changing waters of the Scottsdale Real Estate scene.
Thank you, Arizona. Looking forward to another year of firsts, both real and imagined.
Scottsdale, AZ – A Valley home inspector has declared war on leaky pipes.
And Real Estate agents.
Tired of consumer demands for advice on matters outside of the scope of his services, Lester Hubble has announced on his small business website that receives up to four visits a day that all future inquiries about what the seller is obligated to fix will be directed to his blistered middle finger.
“I offer home inspection services, not transactional advice,” an exasperated Hubble explained when reached for comment. “Want to know what to do with the information provided in my report? Talk to the guy in the khakis and eighty dollar sunglasses.”
“Your Realtor,” Hubble clarified. “You know, the guy making three percent to show up for the last five minutes of the inspection and act like he knows the difference between his ass and a hole in the freon line.”
Reached for comment, local Realtor Dolores Dunmisset acknowledged that she had no idea what she requested on the last repair demand list she submitted on behalf of a client.
“GFCIs, HVACs … most of the stuff in those reports sounds like a designation I should have on my business card,” she chuckled. “I just know that if it shows up on the last page, it’s broken and we want it fixed.”
“Me and a few of my friends started adding bogus items to our reports a few months back,” Hubble confided. “Since ninety nine percent of these idiots would call their handyman for a repair bid on a faulty particle accelerator so long as it appeared in the summary, we have a running bet to see who can get the craziest thing included in a demand list.”
Asked if he was bitter that Realtors, who would seem to know very little about the actual workings of a house, stand to earn an inordinately high fee for every transaction in comparison to the $250-450 he charges per inspection, Hubble did not equivocate.
Hubble did admit that he had encountered a handful of agents over the years who actually asked pertinent questions and sought clarification on the exact nature of the deficiencies noted in his reports, but was quick to add that stumbling upon those rare exceptions was akin to discovering Bigfoot playing lawn darts with the Loch Ness Monster in Area 51.
“A needle in a blown-in stack of fiberglass,” he explained.
Unbeknownst to them, those very agents are the unwitting commodities being wagered by Hubble and his cohorts in what has turned into a high stakes affair.
“Yeah,” he confirmed. “Winner gets books of preferred agent business from the losers. Losers fight over the game show hosts and Fembots.”
Asked if he was winning the contest, Hubble shook his head.
“I really need to up my game if I’m going to top Fahlengrade. Reverse polarity on a traversable wormhole within the sump pump was epic.”
Reached for comment, the National Association of Realtors released a statement warning consumers to consult their home inspection specialist about the dangers of faulty wiring.
–Paul Slaybaugh, BSRE News ©2011
Carefree, AZ – A Valley appraiser is fighting back against the fledgling housing recovery. Citing a disturbing trend in sales data that indicates home prices may be inching up in some parts of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, Dieter Gaines of Hindsight Appraisals is leading the charge against what he considers to be bubble-inducing, artificial advances.
“If there is anything to be learned from the frenzy of two thousand four to two thousand six,” Gaines said of the unprecedent spike in home values that precipitated the crash of two thousand eight. “It’s that we can never again allow the runaway train of home appreciation to destabilize our market.”
Pressed on whether a free-falling market could really be further undermined by the natural period of recovery that follows a decline, Gaines was adamant.
“Sure,” he noted. “Just a mild gain here, or a slight bump there seems harmless enough if taken as isolated phenomena, but it’s a slippery slope … or incline, as it were. Left unchecked, the entire market is running uphill before you know it.”
Believing all forms of appreciation to be creations of the criminally gullible and Democrats, Gaines is determined to single-handedly stymie the next crisis before it starts.
“Last one I did was an acre parcel in the Town of Paradise Valley,” Gaines said. “Custom home, two thousand nine construction, purchase price of one point six million. Comped out at about one point nine. Thought I was screwed until I found a pig farm twelve miles away that helped me bring it in low.”
Not all Real Estate professionals are sold on the revolutionary approach Gaines refers to as ‘forced market normalcy’.
“Idiot thinks he’s the Amazing Kreskin,” one local Realtor who asked to remain anonymous complained when reached for comment. “I gave him ten solid comps from the past three months that justified purchase price, and he still managed to divine that the house was worth a thousand less than a willing buyer and seller agreed to in the open market.”
“Judgment calls,” Gaines explained with a smile when presented with a host of such complaints.
“I mean, a thousand less,” the anonymous agent added. “On a three point eight million dollar sale? I don’t know whether to kick him in the teeth or take him to Vegas. Little prick must kill it at the roulette table.”
“Sometimes I feel guilty about standing between homeowners and their equity,” Gaines admitted. “But then I swallow a handful of barbiturates and sit down to watch Natural Born Killers until it goes away. Usually wake up three days later in a truck stop restroom, right as rain.”
Responding to claims that he is leveraging the ‘Declining Market’ stigma to ensure his top-of-line status with underwriters and banks who are all too happy to suppress values, and in turn, the financial risk of each new loan they fund, Gaines admitted to a certain level of satisfaction.
“Realtors have been looking over my shoulder for years, questioning my evaluations,” he explained on followup, acknowledging that new regulations intended to decrease market volatility have made it easier for him to deflect such scrutiny. “Well, now that the shoe is on the other foot, I’ve got a question of my own.”
“How ya like me now, b1$ch?”
The Arizona Board of Appraisers declined comment on this story.
Paul Slaybaugh, BSRE News ©2011
Scottsdale, AZ – In a turn of events that only the most astute amateur psychologist could have seen coming, a longtime Phoenix area home shopper has split with her Real Estate agent of four years.
Sources indicate that Haley Cosmo had become frustrated in recent months with the lack of attention she was being paid by her professional significant other.
“It started somewhere around the two hundredth house we looked at,” Cosmo confirmed. “A cute, little bank-owned Victorian that would have been perfect if the medicine cabinet in the guest bath had a third shelf.”
According to Cosmo, her agent’s behavior became erratic shortly after that fateful August showing.
“He started chasing me off the phone after an hour, right in the middle of a sentence, with some cockamamie excuse like he had to get the kids dressed for school or go present a contract,” Cosmo complained. “I’d text him at 12 AM about the house I should have bought last year and wouldn’t get a response for like twenty minutes! Twenty!”
Noting that Real Estate is a service industry and that her agent <name withheld> stands to gross almost $2800 before taxes when she ultimately purchases a home, Cosmo believes the deterioration in the relationship can be attributed to nothing more than misplaced priorities.
“It wasn’t always this way,” she lamented. “In the beginning, we used to talk. I mean really talk. Now it just seems like we are always going in different directions.”
“Besides,” she added. “He already taught me everything he knows about the area and the market. Not like he’s bringing anything new to our weekly tours at this point.”
“Not all agent-client relationships are a good fit,” Arizona Association of Realtors spokesperson Aru Cereous admitted when reached for comment. “Especially when one party is a bugshit crazy person with boundary issues who has no genuine interest in ever completing a home purchase.”
“He kept pushing me away, telling me he had to see other people,” Cosmo added. “Now I may be a modern woman, but I am not ready for an open relationship with my Realtor.”
“I think I need an agent more in tune with my needs.”
Or a dog, as it turns out.
Having given up the house hunt for the time being, Cosmo claims to be happier than she’s ever been with the new addition to the studio apartment she’s renting while she waits for her condo in Blythe to sell.
“Griswald never has a scheduling conflict,” Cosmo noted, patting the Springer Spaniel as she retrieved a piece of waste with a plastic bag.
“Maybe I’ll see if I can get him licensed when the time comes to try again.”
Asked whether she felt any remorse for divorcing her agent on the grounds of irreconcilable differences before he could be compensated for the time, effort and expense spent over the course of their relationship, Cosmo’s response was succinct.
– Paul Slaybaugh, BSRE News ©2011